Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pablo Neruda - Poetry and Herbie Hancock's new CD - The Imagine Project

Anyone reading these pages knows that I have a soft spot for Pablo Neruda and his poetry.  As a matter of fact I have more hits on the 11 Neruda poetry blogs than I have on any other pages relating to any other topics.  There are a lot of poetry fans in the blogsphere and like me, they have a special place in their heart for this Nobel prize winning poet who is imo the king of romantic poetry.

In my last Neruda blog, I noted that eventually I would get to some of his other poems, ones not dripping in  erotic and romantic thoughts.  Today's offering is a compromise.  It is a romantic poem about - Poetry!

In reading this you can feel the seduction that entices Neruda to write poetry.  And write it he did.  He was one of the world's most prolific poets.


And it was at that age...Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

Pablo Neruda

You might find his poetry a bit cryptic, as the style is inspired by Surrealism.  I like his unconventional images and find them sufficiently suggestive to convey a message given some thought.  In the following poem you can  pick out the lines hidden in between the petals ofsymbolic phrases.  If you focus on just these lines - the bare bones, you can see the meaning of this poem.
"But from a street I was summoned"
"I don't know where it came from"
"something started in my soul"
"and I wrote the first line"

"and suddenly I saw the heavens unfastened"
"My heart broke loose on the wind". 
I love this last line.  Given Neruda's propensity to write romantic poetry you can see the words flowing from his heart symbolically loose on the wind.    You can see what writing poetry does for Neruda.

The rest of the lines in the poem provide the symbolic and descriptive imagery  and rhythm  to pull you through the poem and properly tell the story - and make it an exceptionally well written poem. 

Herbie Hancock and The Imagine Project

I have to finish up by thanking a dear friend of mine for bringing some new music to my attention.  As you may know, I love jazz in its many forms and one of the jazz greats in my book is Herbie Hancock.  From Wiki:

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet", Hancock helped redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section, and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk. Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
My favourite song from the album  -

After my friend sent me a link to the Imagine song, I had to go check out the rest of the album (it was just released in June of this year) and to my surprize there were a great deal of my very favourite performers and songs - and there is a great story behind the CD.  Two of my top 25 all time favourites who are on the album are Dave Mathews and Tinariwen (in case you don't know them they are the band I hope to hear when I go to the Festival in the Desert in Africa).  Herbie traveled the world to make this album and using the international language of music promotes some pretty admirable goals.  There is quite a diverse set of musical styles on this album.

From the Herbie Hancock site:

Herbie Hancock's Imagine Project is an unprecedented international recording and film project featuring collaborations between music legend Herbie Hancock and a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. It utilizes the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility. The Imagine Project embodies an extraordinary lineup of international superstars from all corners of the world. Artists include Dave Matthews, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, The Chieftains, John Legend, India Arie, Seal, Pink, Juanes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Chaka Khan, K'Naan, Wayne Shorter, James Morrison, and Lisa Hannigan. The album and film stands, on one level, as powerful testaments for the goals of world peace, humanity and tolerance, and respect for our planet, but The Imagine Project shall remain at its core, entertainment content that is creatively and emotionally deeply fulfulling.
For a really good review and description of the musical styles and artists on the album go to the All About Jazz eZine review.

There is a two part You Tube Video which talks not only about music and the Imagine Project - but what it's message is.

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